Category Archives: Flat Roofs

Flat Roof Repair – How to Repair a Leaky Rubber Roof – DIY Guide

This guide covers the basics of flat roof repair, also known as low-slope roof repair, including:

  • Locating the leak
  • Repairing flat roofing
  • Knowing when replacing the roof is a better option
  • The cost of flat roof repair and replacement

EPDM Rubber installed on a flat roof by GemTile

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If your home or building has a flat roof, then you know that water is its major nemesis and leaks must be aggressively addressed with top-quality flat roof repair materials and methods. We explore whether DIY flat roof repair is something you want to attempt or if it makes more sense to hire a professional flat roofing specialist.

These flat roof repair techniques can be used on the most common flat roof materials:

  • EPDM, aka Rubber
  • Modified bitumen
  • BUR (Built up roofing), aka tar and gravel

PVC roof repair

Note: If you happen to have a PVC or TPO roof leak, such as a leaky seam or a hole/puncture caused by a fallen tree branch or an accidental cut, then you will need to find a qualified specialist equipped with all the necessary tools and supplies; a roll of appropriate membrane and a heat air gun. Look for a company specializing in PVC or TPO.

Locating a Flat Roof Leak

While finding a leak in a flat roof is easier than on a steep-sloped, shingled roof, leaks can still be deceiving. Where water enters your interior space might not be exactly where the leak is, because any water that penetrates a roofing membrane can travel for some distance until it finds a seam in the sub-roof or sheathing and seeps inside.

These steps will allow you to isolate the source of the leak, if it isn’t readily evident when you inspect the roof.

  • From inside, measure the distance from where the leak is visible to the two nearest walls.
  • Use those measurements on the rooftop to create a starting point for your search.
  • Most flat roofs are very slightly sloped to facilitate runoff, so explore from the point of the water’s entrance up the slope, since water runs downhill.
  • Look for punctures, popping screws, rips, worn spots, seam separations, blisters and other imperfections in the membrane.
  • If no damage is found in the membrane, examine nearby vent pipe boots, flashing, caulk around vents and similar structures for damage.
  • When you still cannot locate the leak, call a professional flat roof contractor for assistance and repair.

Caution: It’s always smart to respect ladders and heights, so proceed with extreme care! If you can’t access the roof from inside, use a quality ladder rated for more than your weight, and have a strong adult hold the ladder steady for you. If the roof is icy, even greater precaution is required, or a pro should be called in.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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Repairing a Minor Flat Roof Issue

Warranties for flat roofs can range from 5 to 20 years. If your roof is under warranty, call the contractor that installed it to make the repair. Even if the warranty is prorated for the age of the roof, you might still save money with pro repair. You’ll have the confidence the job was done correctly and have recourse if it wasn’t.

If the warranty is up, then you can attempt the repair yourself. If it holds, you’ve saved money; If not, you won’t make it worse with the methods we suggest, and a flat roof contractor can repair it.

Rubber Roof Repair Tools:

  • Roofing Seams Probing tool
  • Roofing Hand Roller tool
  • Roofing Membrane Cleaner
  • EPDM rubber glue
  • EPDM peel and stick roofing tape
  • Appropriate Ladder with ladder stabilizer
  • Paint brush used to spread the glue
  • Bucket of warm water and clean towels

Other tools you may need will depend on the roofing system in question and a specific problem you’re repairing. The common tools used for repairs include a utility knife ($3-$6), tube of roofing sealant or cement ($4-$6), a caulk gun ($5-$20), a 2” putty knife or brush ($1-$4) and peel & stick flashing ($35-$125/size of the roll).

EPDM repairs require a few specialty items including EPDM glue ($12/tube or $40/gallon), weathered membrane cleaner for older roofs ($12/quart or $25/gallon) and EPDM/TPO primer ($15/quart or $40/gallon).

EPDM Rubber Roof Repair Kit

Did you know? Rather than trying to get all of the above items individually, you can save a lot of time by getting an all inclusive Rubber Roof Repair Kit here

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Flat Roof Materials & Costs: PVC vs. TPO, vs. EPDM Rubber, BUR, Modified Bitumen, Spray-on Coating, Plus Pros & Cons

When it comes to covering up a flat roof, your options are both limited and expansive. What that means in a nutshell is that your traditional roofing materials such as asphalt shingles, concrete tiles, and corrugated metal are out of the window. That being said, flat roof systems such as PVC, TPO, EPDM rubber, and others, each offer their pros and cons.

EPDM Rubber installed on a flat roof by GemTile

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So why can’t you put traditional roofing materials on a flat roof? Well, technically you can, but they are almost guaranteed to leak! 😉

Systems like asphalt shingles and concrete or clay tiles are installed by overlapping one row on top of another. They work cohesively with the pitch of the roof to shed rainwater and snow as it falls from the sky. Since flat roofs have little to no pitch, the water would work itself underneath the shingles or tiles, eventually rotting the substrate and causing leaks on your interior.

Covering a flat roof is a whole different animal than shingling a pitched one. On a flat roof, generally speaking, you want to avoid any types of seams, if at all possible.

The biggest threat is of course going to be water, which WILL find any access though any hole or inadequately-sealed seams in the roofing membrane.

Your main goal when covering a flat roof is to create a barrier that will be impenetrable to water.

How do you make an item (besides a roof) impenetrable to water? You can either apply something physical such as a tarp, or coat it with a material to create a barrier like you would via deck stain or lacquer. Roofs follow this same premise –- either physically cover it with something like a PVC membrane or apply a coating such as tar or spray on silicon.

Why Do Flat Roofs Exist?

Before we get into comparisons of different flat roofing materials, it’s important to know why they exist in the first place since they’re seemingly such a hassle and an almost-immanent leak threat. There are two main reasons behind why a contractor would call for a flat roof: 1) aesthetics and 2) convenience.

For example, when you’re adding on to a home (building an addition) with something like a three-seasons room, a flat roof simply looks nicer. Homes with unblended roof pitches can be an awkward eyesore.

In commercial buildings, flat roofs, outright, offer a more convenient place to install outdoor HVAC units rather than putting them in high-traffic ground areas.

Of course, any roof’s main job is to create a barrier of protection between the building below and the atmosphere above. Therein lies the conundrum associated with flat roofing. For all the aesthetics and convenience, the design doesn’t do a lot to avoid snow and water buildup.

To be fair, flat roofs aren’t completely ‘bubble-level’ flat. They work in much the same way as a gutter system, angled slightly or pitched a couple of degrees, so that water can flow into a downspout. Even so, flat roofing materials need to be able to absorb the brunt of the weather and to withstand ponding water or snow and ice until it melts.

Pros and Cons of Common Flat Roof Membranes

Whether you have a commercial or residential building, some type of roof covering is 100% mandatory. There are generally 5 to 6 different routes to take regarding the materials needed for roofing a flat surface:

1. PVC
2. EPDM
3. TPO
4. Modified Bitumen
5. BUR
6. Spray on Coating

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Evolution of Modern Home Design and Decor – Home Remodel Ideas & DIY Inspirations

Ever wonder what Millennial homeowners or home buyers want in terms of exterior and interior home design, living space layout, interior decor and other architectural elements of a house? Knowing this can help inform your remodeling choices and ultimately affect desirability and saleability of your home later on. Read on to learn how to please a millennial with your thoughtful choices of home improvements and remodeling upgrades.

millennials-love-diy

Before we get started – Who are these Millennials anyway?

Millennials – those people born between 1982 and 2004 – are gradually coming of age and becoming the new first-time home buyers these days. It may be hard to believe, but the oldest Millennials are now in their early thirties! Of course, whenever a new generation takes over the mantle of first-time home buyer, the housing industry reacts: building and design trends become driven by that generation’s unique preoccupations and interests. (Remember floral wallpaper?)

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modern-home-design-featuring-flat-roof via Gunlock Homes


Even though there’s been a lot of buzz in the media about Millennials moving back in with their parents due to economic pressure and enormous student loan debt, they still overwhelmingly want to own homes when they can afford to. Perhaps more surprisingly, they also represent a significant portion of the home buying market. How significant? Try 35%!

That’s enough to make home builders and home designers pay attention. After all, even if they are currently buying older, cheaper, and smaller homes than their wealthier elders, those same Millennials will be the second- and third-time home buyers of the future – and they’re going to want to buy homes that make them feel comfortable. In fact, in a survey conducted by Better Homes & Gardens, 63% of Millennial survey-takers said that having a customized home suited to their tastes was a top priority. Consequently, anyone trying to sell a house in 2017 probably ought to know what qualities Millennials are looking for in a new home.


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